China-based foodie and restaurateur Lindsey Fine (aka Veggie Mama) has been creating all sorts of delicious vegan recipes since moving to China nine years ago. You can read all about the perks of eating a plant-based diet via her blog Veggie Mama and sample recipes on this series, Cooking with Veggie Mama. In this edition, Lindsey shares her recipe for Vegan Moo Shu Wraps.
When I was a kid, we always ordered some sort of moo shu dish when we went to Chinese restaurants in suburban Colorado. I remember loving to use moo shu wrappers, adding my favorite toppings – which always included lots of plum sauce – and wrapping it all up. As an American, moo shu wraps were a huge part of my understanding of ‘Chinese’ food. But it turns out that Chinese food in the US is very different than Chinese food in China.
When I moved to China, my food expectations versus the reality was pretty mind blowing. The food completely threw me, and after my first Chinese restaurant experience, I had no idea what to eat.
Although I have come a long way since those early days, that doesn’t mean I don’t miss my moo shu. To this day I have no idea where to find moo shu wrappers in China. No doubt, they are somewhere obvious. But lucky for me, tortillas have become readily available in recent years. They can be used just like a traditional wrapper, and although they aren’t as thin, they are still a perfect replacement.
In Shandong cuisine, these wrappers are called popiah and are often used to wrap various foods. In Shanghai, a version of this wrapper is used to make a breakfast favorite called jianbing. If you can't find those, there are, of course, tortillas.
This recipe combines a variety of fresh, delicious and delicate flavors that are topped with a powerful sauce and wrapped into perfection. If you don’t have time to bother with the sauce, you can use hoisin sauce instead, which you can find at all local supermarkets.
Fresh and Saucy Moo Shu Wraps
12 popiah wrappers, moo shu pancakes or small flour tortillas
For the Filling:
1 package mock duck, thinly sliced (you can also use super firm tofu)
1 1/2 cups slivered bamboo shoots (can use fresh or packaged. If using fresh, boil in water for 30 minutes beforehand)
1 cup puffed tofu cubes, cut into small cubes
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbs rice wine
For the Sweet Sauce:
2 tbs dark brown sugar (can substitute with unrefined coconut sugar, maple syrup or brown rice syrup)
1/2 cup water
3 tbs black soy sauce (it’s a bit thicker than light or dark soy sauce)
1 tbs corn starch or tapioca starch
3 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh lettuce leaves
Cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Spring onions, sliced
Chili sauce or Sriracha
1. Heat a wok or large pan over medium-high heat. Add a bit of cooking oil and add the slivered bamboo. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the mock duck and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add puffed tofu, carrot, cabbage, bean sprouts and garlic. Continue to stir-fry for 3-5 minutes, until tender. Add salt, pepper and rice vinegar. Mix well, cover and set aside.
2. To make the sauce, gently mix the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of the water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until sauce is golden brown and caramelized. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining water, black soy sauce and corn starch. Add the mixture to the saucepan and simmer until the sauce has thickened. If you are using a liquid sweetener, skip the first step. Instead, mix together all of the ingredients for the sweet sauce. Then add the mixture to the pan and cook until the sauce has thickened. Add garlic and let sauce cool.
3. To assemble, set down your wrapper and one piece of lettuce. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture onto the wrapper and lettuce and drizzle with sweet sauce. Top with cilantro, sliced onions and chili garlic sauce or Sriracha to your liking.
Read more Cooking with Veggie Mama
[Images courtesy of Veggie Mama/Lindsey Fine]